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IMG_0494If I could, I’d be a nudist here. The humidity, the rain, the red clay and the sand conspire to make everything you wear the worst possible version of itself; all your clothes are filthy in short order and sandpaper-itchy to boot. Washing them does not seem to help, it only gets them wetter and therefore more prone to souring.

My shoes are the worst, so I stop wearing them. I go barefoot for miles, through the jungle, through caves, over beaches, over the sidewalks of the tourist towns, over the rocks of low tide. I carry my flip-flops just in case, but I only put them on for heavy gravel. I even rappel barefoot after climbing up through a cave that overlooks Ralay beach.

At the end of my IMG_0592adventures I am wearing nothing but my bathing suit and a climbing harness, and am covered in splotchy pink mosquito bites and streaks of red clay. My feet are caked in mud. I saunter up the most frou-frou street of Ralay bay (which isn’t saying much) in this ensemble, sit on a stoop and drink from my water bottle.

I look like Gollum with chicken pox, but I feel like a badass.

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